PASADENA, CA – Community leaders, activists and members gathered at the AEBU Center on April 26 to attend an informative and thought-provoking lecture led by Professor Yasar Tolga Cora, titled “SDHP After the 1908 Young Turk Revolution.” The event was organized by Massis Publishing.

Opening remarks were delivered by Christine Aghakhanian who provided background information on Massis Publishing, which includes Massis Weekly, Massis Post and the SDPH Archives. She then presented moderator Krikor Moloyan, Board Member of Massis Publishing, who gave a brief introduction on Dr. Cora’s background on late Ottoman history. A moment of silence was observed for the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide.

Dr. Cora enlightened the audience with his research on the Gaidz Journal of the Social Democratic Hunchakian Party’s Istanbul Student Union where the SDHP’s emphasis on scientific socialism. Dr. Cora discussed the various theoretical and practical opinions and counter-arguments from the journal’s pages and its effects on the socialist movement throughout the Ottoman Empire.

Among the many positions the SDHP took in the journal, Dr. Cora emphasized their involvement in the labor movement, their anti-war position, defining class, and support for women’s suffrage. Readers of the Gaidz journal also found carefully crafted arguments by the SDHP in opposition to various other political ideologies and parties including the Young Turks. Dr. Cora stressed that the journal continued to focus on its two founding political principles: the preservation of the Armenian community and the struggle towards democratic and constitutional reforms.

Immediately following the lecture, Dr. Cora participated in a question and answer session moderated by Moloyan, where he further delved into topics ranging from the SDHP and the labor movement to his experiences conducting research on the history of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.

“We are grateful to Dr. Cora for his persistent research in uncovering the SDHP’s historical impact in the labor and socialist movements of the era, and thank him for presenting his findings to our Armenian-American community,” Moloyan said.

Dr. Cora has published on various topics including labor history of Armenians, Armenian soldiers in the Ottoman Army, and Armenian socialist publications. His current research is on the Armenians’ role in the commodification of Ottoman textiles and their transformation into identity markers in the late nineteenth century.

He received his PhD from NELC in 2016 with his dissertation, “Transforming Erzurum/Karin: The Social and Economic History of a Multi-Ethnic Ottoman City in the Nineteenth Century.” After graduating from the University of Chicago, Dr. Cora was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2016-2017. Since then, he has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of History, Bogaziçi University, Istanbul. In 2022 Dr. Cora was awarded the Young Scientist Award in the field of History by the Science Academy of Turkey. Currently Dr. Cora is the chief editor of Tarih Vakfi Press and the Spring 2023 Dumanian Visiting Professor in Armenian Studies at the University of Chicago.

This presentation will be the first in a series organized by Massis Publishing which will focus on Armenian history over the last 150 years. Massis Publishing is a non-profit organization that operates Massis Weekly and MassisPost.com while managing a substantial catalog of Armenian music. Massis Publishing plans to republish historically significant materials and establish an archive of its own collection. For more information, please contact Massis Publishing at [email protected].

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